What Do You Do if Someone Blogs About Your Exaggerations in a Job Interview?


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The world continues to be an interesting place, and Quora – the online question and answer site – is my current favorite place to find interesting things.

From the sincere (“What do you think about startups founded by Japanese college students“) to the ridiculous (What should we think about Jon Stewart when he called Barack Obama ‘dude’.), Quora has a little bit of everything.

Many times the site’s leanings to tech – the land of high IQs and not-so-infrequently lower EQ or emotional intelligence – are evident by the questions that get posed. This week’s topper? “What should you do if someone blogs about your exaggerations in a job interview?”

The anonymous poster – New York-based apparently – further writes,

“In a job interview recently I exaggerated some stuff I had done in the past. Turns out the job interviewer called around and found out that I had lied about some things. This week he wrote a blog post about everything he discovered and used me as an example of what not to do when you apply for a job. Yes, he used my real name. Is it possible I could sue to have the blog post taken down since it will interfere with my ability to find work? Basically, anyone who Googles my name from now on is going to see this as one of the top results – which could make life extremely difficult for me. I would like to know what my rights are – if I have any in this situation.”

There is no “I made a bad mistake and is there any way to make amends or to correct it” bent to the question. It is an “It’s all about me” piece; someone did something (unprofessional on the part of the recruiter; snarky would be another word to describe the act. And that recruiter would not be someone I’d hire ) that I don’t like and how do I make them take it back.

Apart from that fact that lying on a resume or interview is one of the easiest ways to blow a job search and something that you should never do, the anonymous posters pitch is “how do I make them take back the fact that I lied.

Like Nicole Imprescia, the mom in New York City who recently sued her preschool after 3 weeks because she thought the school was not preparing her child properly and would diminish the child’s subsequent chances of gaining admission at an Ivy League School, this is an all about my needs not your requirements approach.

General advice when you’ve made a mistake? Admit it. It clears the air (generally) and helps you move on (usually). If you’ve done something dumb, fess up. Move on. Avoid wasting your time with figuring out how you’ve been wronged by someone when your mistake set everything in motion.

On the flip side the employer is probably pretty glad they didn’t hire the question poster, just as Nicole Imprescia’s former preschool is really glad she’s not a parent at the school any longer. Move on. Get over it. Life, as the saying goes, is too short.

Vesa Toskala said once “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s a new game on Sunday.”

It’s true in hockey (Toskala’s sport) and it’s true in life – unless you stretch it out and sue your preschool, or keep ranting about something truthful that was blogged about you.

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub, as well as participate in my learning community courtesy of KnowledgeCrush.

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